Here are the memories of Robert Just on Anna Dexter.


Anna Dexter gained a loyal listening audience with her morning program six days a week. She had been on station CHNS in Halifax since at least the 1930's. You will certainly recognize the name John Fisher, the same John Fisher who became Mr. Canada in 1967, when he was our centennial commissioner. Back in the 30's, when he was an announcer on CHNS, he introduced Mrs. Dexter each morning. She did her daily broadcasts from her home, and would come on the air at 9:30. Here is how the show would commence:

Announcer: It's 9:30: Time for Mrs. Anna Dexter's program. After the following musical selection, Mrs. Dexter will speak to her good friends everywhere.

Following the selection, usually a choral piece, Mrs. Dexter would begin her program, speaking casually, as though she were a guest in your home. Mrs. Dexter generally talked about the local news from the morning paper, and some other things of general interest to the elderly, as well as ordinary things you might hear ladies talking about over lunch and coffee. I remember one morning near Christmas, she started talking about Santa Claus. When she went on the air, after the customary musical selection, it appeared that she was talking to a child who was upset for some reason. However, no child was heard in the background. On one of her broadcasts during the war, Mrs. Dexter mentioned having received a call from a woman who had heard from a relative who had heard Mrs. Dexter in England, via short-wave. On Saturday mornings, the station gave her a whole hour

I shall always remember her final broadcast. She had been admitted to hospital because of some kind of heart condition, and had been placed in an oxygen tent. She felt obligated to talk to her loyal listeners at least once more, so she was taken out of the tent long enough for her broadcast. She had barely begun speaking, when a nurse entered her room and made her extremely angry.
"You know you're not supposed to enter my room while I'm broadcasting!" snapped Mrs. Dexter, her anger showing in her voice. She then continued speaking, when suddenly, she became short of breath. All I can say is, she was a real trooper to try to do that broadcast. However, broadcasting was her first love, and one would have thought she was born holding a microphone. Finally, she was gasping so profusely that the station had no choice but to cut her off, and fill in the rest of the program period with music. My mother, a registered nurse, used to work the 3 to 11 shift. She was on duty that night and saw Mrs. Dexter on her rounds. About 9:30 that night, this really brave soul departed to that great broadcasting house up yonder. The next morning, when Mom came home, she told me Mrs. Dexter had passed away. While I was not one of her most devoted listeners, my heart did go out to her when she was trying to give that unforgettable final broadcast all she had. A cousin of mine lived only two doors away from Mrs. Dexter's house. If anyone should have been awarded a citation, I think her son, Don, would have been an excellent candidate to receive one in remembrance of her.